After which felt like last minute plans, I set off with my family to Mallorca in late July from Gatwick at some unearthly hour of the morning. Unfortunately I was rather ill the night before which meant my packing was somewhat minimal, though somehow it was still the heaviest of the 5 suitcases…oops! We flew into Palma and hired a car which we drove to Alcudia where our Villa was within walking distance of the beach.
Alcudia is located on the north-east coast of Mallorca (around 1h drive from Palma) and in the centre has an old town built by the romans. Our villa was located half way between the Port D’Alcudia and the Alcudia Marina which meant we had a lot of choice when it came to where to head to the beach. With no time to loose we ventured out in the dark on the first night to locate the nearest beach, which, when we arrived, provided us with a beautiful calm sunset.
The Old Town was very picturesque, narrow cobbled streets filled with quaint shops and restaurants. During the day it was full of tourists pottering in and out of the shops, whilst at night the smell would win over even those with anosmia as the dress code reversed from casual to smart with people eating in the amazing array of local restaurants. While we were there the temperature was between 30-39oC which personally I found a little toooo hot – I managed 3 morning runs, but by midday we were all very much in the shade or in an air conditioned room!
The sea on the beautiful beaches of Alcudia was so clear – not a piece of seaweed in sight. The majority of rocks were volcanic rock which made walking on them a challenge to say the least, but none-the-less no one cut their feet. With a beach less than 1km from the Villa we made a visit at least once a day, even picnicking on it one evening.
Although we prepared breakfasts and lunches at the Villa ourselves, we decided to give the local cuisine a go for dinner on multiple occasions. The first meal I had was Paella, the typical Spanish dish. I chose it with seafood and it was iiiiiincredible, so much so that I finished of the 2 other Paellas that had been ordered for my parents (I promise I wasn’t stealing their food, they had eaten all they could so the permission to dig in had been granted!). For starters we were usually served olives (I have developed a like for these now….be aware!!) and gluten free baguettes!! Another meal that was particularly impressive was the final night in the Old Town – for starters it was the usual but the main was freshly grilled cod with potatoes. Now I must sound terrible for doing this but I also ate most of my brothers prawn spaghetti (which he disliked) as well as my sister’s duck and figs (which she also disliked)! They were all quite rich, presented well but so tasty!
The range of gluten free food available was really good – most restaurants had gluten free pasta and could serve any grills, salads, paellas or tapas gluten free. Some even did gluten free pizza (we just had to try one of these didn’t we!). Two of the three provided gluten free baguettes or bread as a starter too which I was fairly surprised by.
Another thing that the Spanish got right was Gelato. From smurf to pina colada to duche de leche – they had every flavour under the sun. They weren’t cheap, but were much needed in the sweltering 38oC temps!
Mallorca is the home to fresh fig plants, almonds, carob, dates, nectarines (these were so juicy!!) and a range of other fruits and vegetables. I recognised the tree in our front garden and soon identified it as a carob tree. After googling whether it was safe to eat raw I picked some, boiled it (as per google’s instructions) and as we had no food processor to grind the pods into a powder we ate the pods whole. They were sooo tasty – not quite what I had expected either! Being a mad lover of nuts and dried fruit I just had to try some fresh figs – I walked for 20 minutes to a Fresh Fig Market and back to spend 43 cents on some fresh figs! We also discovered that in the back garden we had an almond tree…I wasn’t actually aware that these grew in Europe.
Cyclists and triathletes are drawn to Mallorca as it is the location of the routes and large sporting events that take place their every year. Although we didn’t take part in heaps of activities, it was lovely to relax a bit as we all live very full-on lives back home.
Having said this, one of the best adventures we had was a morning organised by Skualo where we paddle boarded off the coast and snorkeled, cliff jumped, coasteered and got the chance to swim deep into caves as dark as a black hole. Swimming through a dark cave was quite an experience…you had no idea how deep the water was, for all we knew the next step could take you to a 10ft drop! At first I thought balance would play havoc and getting the jist of the paddle board would be difficult, however, we all adapted to the waves and (most of the time) remained on our feet. It was a lot easier to paddle when you refrained from looking down!! We spent about 2 hours paddle boarding with a few breaks to do the other activities. The caves were incredible but rather scary at the same time.
On the final day our plane was due to depart late in the evening which meant we had 12 hours to kill before driving to the airport. This gave us the chance to visit the Caves of Campanet! I have to admit I didn’t really know what to expect, and I certainly thought they’d be far smaller than they were! There were some amazing stalactites and stalagmites, the caves were so deep and felt endless – I was genuinely worried about getting lost!!
A few questions that have been asked about the trip:
Where would you recommend for gluten free food?
-Bistro 1909 Restaurant, Old Town Alcudia
-MOMA Restaurant, Port D’Alcudia
-Monarc Airlines (multiple g/f meal choices)
-Having said this, most places served gf dishes…!!
How did you manage to workout in the heat?
As mentioned earlier I went on 3 morning runs (around 8am-ish) before it was too hot, at this hour it was around 26oC. We did quite a bit of walking around, to and from the beach, but I used the week away to relax and give my body a much needed rest.
My tips for working out in the heat:
– invest in a top-less cap – it really keeps the sun off your face which keeps you a little cooler.
– workout in the morning…it gets too hot otherwise!!
– make use of what you can – use water bottles as weights, enjoy the scenery running alongside the coast at a relaxed pace.
– wear light clothing (eg. not black) as you’ll reflect the sun as opposed to absorb it!
– keep hydrated throughout the day to ensure you don’t become dehydrated!